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CSIR (South Africa)


The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, commonly known as the CSIR, is a world-class African research and development organisation established through an Act of Parliament in 1945. The CSIR undertakes directed, multidisciplinary research and technological innovation that contributes to the improved quality of life of South Africans. The organisation plays a key role in supporting government’s programmes through directed research that is aligned with the country’s priorities, the organisation’s mandate and its science, engineering and technology competences.

Strategic objectives

Conduct high-quality and relevant research and technological innovation to foster industrial and scientific development – This strategic objective is achieved through the selection and implementation of a range of R&D programmes.

Build and transform human capital – The CSIR’s scientific and technical contributions are only possible through the skills and capabilities of our scientific staff, which we refer to as our science, engineering and technology (SET) base. The ongoing development, renewal and transformation of the SET base are of critical importance for the organisation. In addition, the CSIR is an important part of the national system of innovation and through the development and training of our scientific base, contributes to the national imperative to develop human capital and to the ongoing transformation of our society.

Maintain a sustainable and well-governed organisation – Without a financially sustainable and well-governed organisation, our ability to, over the long-term, contribute to national development through our scientific and technological work, would be severely compromised. Therefore, the CSIR is committed to maintaining its record of good governance and to continue to operate in a sustainable manner.

Supporting national imperatives through high quality and relevant research

Key issues that the CSIR seeks to address through various interventions include: creating a vibrant economy and employment opportunities; building a capable state that is able to consistently deliver high-quality services for all South Africans; contributing to the development of economic and social infrastructure like transport, energy, water resources and ICT networks.

Impact is at the core of the CSIR’s mandate. To improve its research focus and ensure that it achieves maximum impact in industry and society, the organisation has identified six research impact areas. These are: The built environment, defence and security, energy, health, industry and the natural environment. To make an impact in these areas, the organisation draws on a rich, multidisciplinary science base and proficiency in enabling technologies such as nanotechnology, materials science, synthetic biology, photonics and information and communications technology.

World-class infrastructure and highly skilled staff

The CSIR’s state-of-the-art research infrastructure includes laboratories, testing facilities, scientific instruments, equipment, machinery, clean rooms and pilot plants that enable the translation of CSIR research into solid scientific output such as technology demonstrators and intellectual property. Two-thirds of the CSIR’s staff consists of scientists, engineers and technologists, who share a passion for shaping a better future through science and technology innovation. The organisation also invests in a myriad of training interventions to foster young talent and further develop expertise by providing bursaries, studentships, internships, exchange and sabbatical programmes.

It is this combination of excellence in research, highly skilled staff and world-class infrastructure that puts the CSIR at the cutting edge of research and technological innovation to ensure a better future through science.

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